David Mayo

I am a research specialist at MIT CSAIL and the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines advised by Dr. Boris Kaz and Dr. Andrei Barbu in the InfoLab group.

Previously, I received my Masters and Bachelors degrees in EECS at MIT.

My research interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, and robotics.

Github | Email



ObjectNet is a large real-world test set for object recognition with control where object backgrounds, rotations, and imaging viewpoints are random. This work opens up new avenues for research in generalizable, robust, and more human-like computer vision and in creating datasets where results are predictive of real-world performance.


Website » Workshop Talk » Poster » NeurIPS 2019 Paper »

Exploratory Learning with Virtual Companions

Face-to-face tutoring is considered a gold standard for learning new skills and concepts, but requires physical copresence. In this paper we explored the intersection of exploratory learning, telepresence, and attention awareness by designing two proof-of-concept learning systems on Google Cardboard.

Website » Video » ICALT 2016 Paper »

Assembly Line

Assembly Line is a collaboration with Agnieszka Kurant during her residency at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology and with Andrei Barbu and Boris Katz. Her work analyzed how collective intelligence and emergence—in nature and culture—can be applied to creativity and art production. This research collaboration developed crowd-sourced artworks shaped and animated by a new working class—workers of online crowdsourcing marketplace platforms.

Website » Talk »

Eyetracking for Low-Cost VR

While advanced VR headset technologies using IR sensors are quite precise, we wanted to see if we could accurately estimate gaze based simply off of an image of the eyeball. I gave a talk about this work with Helen Zhou at the 2017 European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM).

Spider Car

Alan Casallas and I developed designs and an early prototype of a remote control car propelled by two fans that can rotate in any direction. Its unique method of propulsion allows it to drive up walls and over obstacles. The development of Spider Car was funded by MIT ProjX and the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund.


During IAP 2016 I competed in the MASLAB robotics competition here at MIT. It is a month long event of building a robot from scratch that culminates in a single-elimination final competition. This year there were 10 teams competing, which range in size from about 3-5 members. My team of four can be seen on the left: Jake Burga, Me, Alan Casallas, and Robert Goldie. We learned a ton about how to build and program a robot from scratch.

Pokerbots - The House

Patrick Mccabe and I created an AI that can play poker as part of the MIT Pokerbots competition. We named our AI The House (because the house always wins). Our AI played poker by creating a model of each opponent based on their game play and then in combination with our pot equity calculation exploited weaknesses in our opponents game play. Please read our strategy report for a more detailed description of our pokerbot.

Strategy Report » Github Repo »

Project Sphere

This project is a web app that is designed to allow competitors in the Georgia Educational Technology fair to easily upload information about their projects and share them online. It was written in php, mysql, and bootstrap.

GitHub Repo »

Introductory Electricity HSSP Class

I volunteered to teach a class for high school students through the Experimental Study Program's high school summer program (HSSP). Through this program MIT students are free to develop a curriculum and teach anything they are interested in. The class I co-taught with Christian Cardozo and Phong Vo was called Introductory Electricity. It was based on MITs 8.02 physics class and was designed to give high school students a fast paced hands on introduction to the physics of electricity. I also created a website for the course.

Course Website »

Quadcopter Video

Quadcopters, an Inside Look was my final project for ES.333, Production of Educational Videos. I scripted, filmed, directed, edited, and produced this educational video about quadcopters.

Video »

Project Sphere

This was my project for 6.470, MIT's IAP Web Programming Competition. I worked on this project with Michael Holachek. Project Sphere is a website that allows users to share any project that they are working and find people near by to collaborate with. Project Sphere was written using meteor, nodejs, bootstrap, and mongodb.

Homemade Speakers

This was the final project for my ES.033 class, Science Writing and New Media. The assignment was to build anything that would improve the Experimental Study Group lounge space. I noticed that it was difficult for people to play music in the lounge using only their laptop or smart phone speakers so I decided to buid 100w speakers that everyone can use.

View details »


I competed in MIT's IAP battlecode competition with three other MIT students. Battlecode is a programming competition in which teams write an AI for virtual robots and then pit their AI's against eachother.

High School Projects

Quadcopter From Scratch

This project is a fully hand-built quadrotor, which balances itself using accelerometer and gyroscope data, and a proportional-derivative algorithm. A wireless controller, also hand-made, controls the desired average throttle of the motors, and relays this information to the quadrotor in real-time. I worked on this project with Albert Shaw and Clayton Ritcher.

View details »

FTIR Touch Screen Table

This project is a homemade FTIR touch screen table. FTIR stands for frustrated total internal reflection. Total internal reflection is a phenomenon that causes light to bounce back and forth inside of a medium when certian constraints on the refractive index of the medium and critical that the light strikes the medium are met. In this project infrared LEDs shine into an acrylic panel and becuase of total internal reflection most of the light stays inside of the panel. If a user presses their finger on the surface of the panel it will result in frustrated total internal reflection and infrared light will be reflected in the direction the IR camera below the table. The centroid of the blob that the camera sees can be used to determine where the user touched the table. The image that the user sees and interacts with is created using a projector below the table. Since the projector emits visible light it does not interfere with the infrared light used to sense touches.

Details coming soon »

File Manager

File Manager was my project for the Georgia Educational Technology Fair and I won 1st place at the state level twice. I worked on this project with Albert Shaw. File Manager is similar to dropbox, box.net, Google Drive, and MediaFire, but you can host File Manager on your own server and keep all of your data under your control. It was written primarily in php, mysql, and jquery.

View details »


Soulminers was my project for the Georgia Educational Technology Fair and I won 1st place at the state level. Soulminers is an online vinyl records sales buisness. I created both a website that allows users to browse and search their catalog of 10,000+ records and a backend that allows that catalog to be easily updated. The site was written in php and mysql.

Website »

Github | Email